Fame & Fortune: Danny DeVito

Bankrate: With the economy the way it is, has it spilled over into the economic status of your family?

Danny DeVito: Well, everybody is aware of the fact that things are tight. My kids are really well-balanced kids, though, and they understand what's happening. We're all shutting lights off and things like that. That's not only due to the economy. I am very conscious of saving the planet as well. I'm kind of obsessed with the world and what's going on and all the things happening.

Bankrate: You married Rhea in 1982 when you were on "Taxi" but had lived together for 11 years prior. Why get married?

Danny DeVito: That was the right thing to do. We got married because we wanted to have kids. When you are acting in New York City, which is where we were living, it's really a crazy life. Then I got very lucky with "Taxi" and started making some dough. I really wasn't making much at all before that, even doing some theater work in New York.  You get paid peanuts for that, but you really get a sense of accomplishment. Rhea and I were like, "It's kind of a good thing if we got married," because we both loved kids and always wanted them. We just weren't in the spot financially to do it before then. 

Bankrate: And now you have a home in Beverly Hills and Malibu, plus a restaurant?

Danny DeVito: Yeah, I got a great beach here; it's a south-facing beach which is really nice. But there isn't anything really like the Jersey shore, and its lifestyle, its energy and its people. Hey, I'm not complaining, you know. I have a very great life in California, but I still like visiting my roots. And the restaurant is in Miami Beach, called DeVito South Beach, and we serve Italian food. The place has been packed. We met a couple when Rhea and I were on vacation a couple of years ago, and the guy lives in Boca Raton. So now we have a beautiful Italian restaurant.

Bankrate: So I assume you're making the dough now with all the different creative hats you wear?

Danny DeVito: (He laughs and points to his black baseball cap with a "Reno 911!" logo.) My TV company produced "Reno 911!," you know. Well, I like directing, I like acting, I like writing and I like producing, so I don't see why I should give up one for another. The first film I directed "Throw Momma From the Train," I had the movie premiere right in Asbury at the Paramount Theater, just about five blocks from where I used to live. And the restaurant runs itself with a great manager and good people there in Florida.

Bankrate: What would you say brings you the most joy out of life?

Danny DeVito: That would be my family: my wife, my children, my sisters, and also, my friends. Whenever I visit New Jersey, and that's quite often, I visit with as many people as I can. My two sisters really were like my mother because they are much older than I am. One of them is 16 years older. So it's family and close friends that give me the most in life.

Bonnie Siegler is a freelance writer in Los Angeles.

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